The O Visas – Extraordinary Ability Artists, Athletics, Entertainers, Scientists, Business People, and EducatorsO1 visas are short-term work visas available for persons doing specialized work in the arts, athletics, sciences, business, entertainment, and education fields. The Immigration and Nationality Act requires that the O1 Visa applicant have an “extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim or, with regard to motion picture and television productions a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement, and whose achievements have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation, and seeks to enter the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability.”
Duration & Limits of O VisasThere are no limits to the amount of available O Visas. Each O visa is valid for the length of time necessary for a particular event, tour, or season, up to a maximum of three years. O visas may be extended for one year periods in unlimited increments.
Requirements for O1 visa – Scientists, Educators, Business People and Athletics and Entertainer/ArtistsApplicants of extraordinary ability in science, education, business, or athletics eligible for O visas must be one of a small percentage who has reached the top of his/her field or has received a major award such as a Nobel Prize or award for excellence. To prove “top of the field”, strong relevant evidence must be included and examples of which include Applicant:
- has published material in professional or trade publications or have major media attention related to the Applicant and the Applicant’s work;
- has participated on a panel or individually as a Judge of the work of others in the Applicant’s field of expertise.
- Evidence that the Applicant has or will perform services as a lead or starring participant in productions or events that possess a distinguished reputations as evidenced by critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, publications, contracts, or endorsements;
- Evidence that the Applicant possesses national and/or international recognition for achievement evidenced by critical reviews, other published materials by or about the beneficiary in major papers, trade journals, magazines, or other publications.
O2 Visa – Essential Support Staff of Artists and AthletesO2 Visas are available for Applicants who work as essential support personnel of O1 Athletes, Artists, and Entertainers. O2 visas are not available for persons that assist O1 visa holders in business, education and science. O2 visas are valid for the length of time necessary for a particular event, tour, or season, up to a maximum of three years. O2 visas may be extended for one year periods in unlimited increments.
O2 Visa Requirements:The requirements for O2 Visa Applicants are as follows:
- The O2 applicant is an integral part of such actual performance;
- The O2 Applicant has critical skills and experience which are not of a general nature and which cannot be performed by other individuals;
Advantages of O Visas over other non-immigrant employment visas
- Viable option for J visa holders who are subject to the 2 year residency requirement;
- While an O visa cannot be self-petitioning, if the Applicant is self-employed, his/her O visa can be petitioned by the Applicant’s agent/agency;
- O visa scientist, artists, educators, businessman or athletics may qualify for permanent residency under the Employment based First Preference (EB-1) and maybe self-employed and petition for him/herself.